Thursday, February 09, 2006

Why We Can't Sleep

I have trouble sometimes with insomnia. It's something I've struggled with since I was an adolescent. My brain sometimes starts going, and I cannot shut it down. It hardly happens anymore, but when it does I spend the next day walking around like a zombie.

"In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep" (Daniel 2:1).

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 62% of Americans have some trouble sleeping at nights. In a report filed yesterday, NBC News says Americans are turning more and more to sleeping pills like Ambien or Lunestra -- nearly 42 million prescriptions for some kind of sleep aid were filled in 2005.

There are often medical and psychological conditions that prevent someone from sleeping. For me (and for Nebuchadnezzar), there was something else keeping me awake -- it was neither medical nor psychological -- it was spiritual.

Don Finto once told me he had struggles with sleep, too. But he found that if he would just pray about whatever was bothering him, he'd drift off to sleep in no time. It sounds simplistic, but it worked for me. And I think there's something in that simple sleep aid that relates to what I wrote yesterday.

It's normal to take your problems to God, right? But when I forget that I'm not God, I take my problems to me and keep myself awake with them.

God never sleeps. That's by choice. There's a categorical difference between "not sleeping" and "can't sleep".

If there is a God who is not me -- a God more competent by far than me -- then I can take whatever's bothering me and leave it with him. He'll stay awake, and I can sleep.